The Words of the Uhnak Family
Statue of King Wenceslas in Wenceslas Square, where rallies were held for Czechoslovakia's independence.
I wish to give the heart of Czechoslovakia to you, my brothers and sisters. This is my first opportunity to speak to the world, because you are representatives of the world. Through this testimony I hope you can understand how God has been working in the East European countries.
As True Father begins with Adam and Eve, I will start with my birth. I was born in a small village in Czechoslovakia. My mother said that it took three days for my birth, during which I almost died. I was about 12 or 13 when I first felt Jesus. From this time I desired to go to a Catholic seminary. It was very difficult to obtain Bibles in our country. But for me it was necessary to read the Bible. Therefore after every Sunday service, I bought the Catholic newspaper, which printed part of the Bible each week. At home I would type in this part, so that in two or three years I was able to prepare a small Bible. When I was 15, the desire to attend the seminary became so strong that I promised God I would go.
Then I encountered a big dilemma: the Bible said the Heavenly Kingdom will be in the afterlife, whereas communism promised that Kingdom on the earth. By the time I was sixteen, I had already studied 32 books by Lenin in school. I wondered, should I follow God or Lenin? I didn't go to the seminary, but instead I studied at the technical university. There, I joined many groups with different views. My desire to work with God continued to be very strong, but I also participated in groups that substantially served people.
In response to a nationalist awakening in Czechoslovakia, the Soviets executed a lightning invasion and occupation in 1968. I was then a member of the National Youth Committee, and it was then I began to understand that communism is wrong. In 1970, a friend of mine told me that Jesus was meant to marry. That was new to me. But I thought immediately that it was possible. Then this girl gave me the first chapter of Divine Principle. I read it and felt, "This is true." It said God is working to build a new world culture. She gave me the chapters one by one, because we witnessed very carefully at that time in Czechoslovakia.
I was very happy to learn this is the time of the Messiah, because my desire was not only go to a theological seminary, but to work with Jesus. I had often wished to have lived with him two thousand years ago, travelled with him and listened to his sermons. I was so excited to be living at the time when the Messiah is here.
Missionaries came into Czechoslovakia in October 1968. I joined in 1970. My physical father died on October 23, 1968. On October 23, 1969, I had a big car accident. Afterwards, I felt that my father in spirit world was trying to tell me I was going in the wrong direction spiritually and needed to change my life. The following year I joined the Church, and on October 23, 1970, one brother showed me a picture of True Father for the first time. Every year on that same day something significant happened in my life.
I worked very hard, because I felt our mission was very important to Heavenly Father. My deepest desire was to have an ideal family. In October of the next year, I met a Blessed family from Italy. We were able to make our first Holy Ground in Bratislava.
Before our first Holy Ground could be blessed, Satan worked very hard against our group. We had one spiritually open member. She had experienced many dreams about our Czechoslovakian mission, and wanted to speak to our group. I said to her, "Okay, please speak and we will listen." She came to my apartment. In the beginning many spirit beings came to her, but after 15 minutes Jesus came. He said, "You are a chosen nation, but you must separate from Germany." At that time we were receiving our guidance from Germany. In the next 30 minutes, many things were said about starting a 40-day fast, about Mother Mary helping us, and so on. But because this spirit asked us to separate from Germany, I felt the words were unprincipled.
Then True Father came in spirit, speaking the same way about separation. I remembered that Father said to test spiritual beings. It was now True Father who was speaking, and I felt embarrassed to test him. But because the words were not so good, I thought I would ask him three questions: "How many couples are now blessed?" This sister replied, "If you test me, I will leave." I gave the next question, "What does the Blessing ring look like?" It was as if an atomic bomb exploded: she fell on the floor and everything ended. I later understood that some evil spiritual beings didn't want the Holy Ground to be blessed. They wanted us to separate from Germany because historically, Czechoslovakia had separated from Germany several times. We remained connected to Germany, however, and could have our first Holy Ground blessed.
In Wenceslas Square, a memorial to citizens martyred for the cause of freedom is visited constantly.
Our desire to build the Heavenly Kingdom was so strong that in the next four or five years we opened 25 centers in Czechoslovakia. During this time, we were even able to send missionaries to other East European nations for a short while. Many young people left their schools and families to join. Parents contacted the police, complaining their children left their family and schools to follow a "Messiah" from Korea. In August of 1973, persecution started. Police took many of our members to the Bratislava police station for questioning.
During the next six months, we were interrogated about the Church. After 10 months there was a big trial, during which 23 Unification Church members received prison sentences from one year to four years and four months. The leader, a woman, received four years and four months. Another brother received four years and two months. I received three years and eight months. They took everything from us -- our car, tape recorder, tapes and books.
Prison life was not too bad, because there was only psychological not physical torture. During our time there we helped other people in the prison, especially Catholic priests and Jehovah Witnesses. That was one good thing about prison. But I remember one experience prior to the trial. I was very happy in one sense to be in prison, because that is a cross from God, and everybody must receive a cross to overcome. I was prepared to openly witness about True Parents; during the trial, too. But one day, I got a message through prayer, "You must deny True Parents." I felt I could not do that, so again I prayed, "Heavenly Father, is this the truth or not? I cannot deny True Parents. I am willing to die for them." Maybe you remember the story of when Father was in prison, told by President Won Pil Kim in his small book, Father's Course and Our Life of Faith. Father told the leader of one spiritual group who was imprisoned with Father that she must deny Jesus. At that time I prayed, I didn't know about Father's life, but followed this message. I felt it was confirmed later, for while we were in prison we tried to support one another by yelling to each other across the yard, "Hello, John, Hello Vedka." It seemed very good for everybody, but the guards felt we were disrupting the prison order, and one day when I called to somebody, the guards put me in solitary confinement for seven days.
During this time of persecution and prison many members left our church, but 11 members stayed. After prison I went to my home village and prayed to God, "What can I do now?" Open witnessing was not possible. And God said, "You must serve -- try to serve people." But how? In our village there was a post office which was begun but never finished. In a communist country, workers often start to build something, but then are called to work in another area. This building had stood uncompleted for two years. God told me, "Please help, and finish this post office." I went to the village and asked many young and old people, "Please can you help me?" Many people responded and in three or four months we had finished this office building. The village people were inspired and said, "You became very good after prison."
That was physical work, but then God asked me to please help other people. Our village had a population of 8,000 people, but the youth committee membership was only about 15 people. I prayed, "What can I do now?" And God said, "Please work with the Youth Club." So I did, and I renamed it the Cosmos Club. I created 12 new sections -- music, film, theater -- and in two months we had about 150 members. That was also very good for this village. One boy told me, "Anton, you are our messiah." I felt God's blessing on my efforts, because I was not able to witness openly, by mentioning the messiah or our movement.
Also during this time in my village, Satan tried to attack me by sending three big temptations. I knew many members had left the Church because Satan offered them another husband or wife, and they married. He tried to tempt me in this way also, but I overcame and all ended well.
My work in my home village was a good foundation for the next step. I returned to Bratislava, and started to work at a port on the River Danube. I worked very hard in a metal works factory. During this time I always recalled Father's words, that you must win victory from the position of persecution.
One year after working at the port, my regional director called and said he would like me to work as the leader of that factory. I worked for another two years in that position, then that same director promoted me to the higher function of a director. In two more years, I was the Safety Director at our central office. That was very interesting, because I had been imprisoned by a communist country and was now in one of the highest positions in that country. I believe it was because I always tried to read and follow Father's words.
In 1982, the Czechoslovakian family got a great gift from God -- the Blessing ceremony. True Parents blessed seven couples by photo -- three were Czechoslovakian couples and four were international couples, with two spouses from Japan and two from Austria.
After prison it was a big problem to witness openly, so we were looking for other ways. We had very good friends to whom we wrote letters. We also worked with several resistance groups and prayed for unity, because there was competition among these groups. Our prayer conditions and this work brought a big victory last year in Budapest.
Before I explain what happened in Budapest, I want to tell you about our 21-year mission in Czechoslovakia. Missionaries first came in 1968. I joined in 1970, when I was 27 years old. Of my first seven years in the church, the first three were witnessing and the next four were in prison. From 1977-1981, I lived in my home village and worked at the port, moving to higher and higher positions. In 1982, I received the Blessing and started my family level. I knew that after 21 years, something must change in our country's situation. In 1988, communist leaders prepared a big celebration for the anniversary of 40 years of communism in Czechoslovakia. On October 22,1988, we met with Rev. Kwak in Budapest for the first time. On October 23, the same date as my father died, I had the accident and saw the picture of True Father, I became the Czechoslovakian national leader. So I began to work on the national level.
Soon after this, we held two-day workshops for second selves and chosen ones. Next we started a 21-day prayer condition with street lecturing.
These 21 days were repentance and indemnity for the 21 years of the mission in our country. In the third week of this prayer condition, the revolution in Prague began on the 17th of November. During these 21 days, the communist government was overturned. That time of resistance and unity was so important to us and Heavenly Father. This unity brought a great victory for God, for the revolution was incredibly peaceful.
We continued with another 21-day prayer condition until the end of the year.
During this prayer condition, we witnessed to professors and priests through a CAUSA project, and on December 27-28 held a CARP conference where we elected a new
CARP president. Since then we have done a 40-day and 7-day prayer condition, both of which have been good for all of our Czechoslovakian members. On January 17, we created the Czechoslovakian Association, which will develop cultural connections with South Korea.
Now that communism has failed in Czechoslovakia and all East European countries, I believe God has a plan for the destiny of this area, but the responsibility lies with us to fulfill what God wants to do. I am sorry that no one from Czechoslovakia could meet True Parents for the past 21 years. Now, on Father's seventieth birthday celebration, we are able to come and to meet our True Parents. I was so blessed that I could shake hands with Father. These are such good feelings, for which I would like to give my thanks representing the 15 million people in Czechoslovakia.